College Admissions: Early Decision/Action – You’ve been deferred – Now What?

By Dr. Paul Lowe – College Admissions Guru

Colleges’ Early Decision or Early Action results are coming out. You’ve applied to your dream school. You’ve studied, worked (and played) your heart out, striving for THIS MOMENT. You’ve declared your commitment to your dream school by applying early. The time has come to log onto the school website and open that digital envelope to see if you have been accepted or rejected. You open your envelope and find…you haven’t been rejected. But you haven’t been accepted either. You’ve been DEFERRED.

It’s what I call: “Decision Limbo”. Students in large numbers are deferred to the regular decision pool and are left to wait another few months for the moment of truth. This is the time when my firm receives calls from parents who want to engage our services to find out how to make their student stand out among the many faces in the crowd. My initial professional advice is that the worst mistake you can make is to do nothing and hope for the best in the spring (or even worse, the summer).

Although each student is different and each strategy may be modified, here are 10 steps that may increase your chances of admission to your dream school.

1. Review your Common Application and all supportive and supplemental application materials to look for inconsistencies or detrimental information.

2. Tactfully update the college on all new achievements and awards you received since your application was submitted.

3. Make sure you keep grades strong – beware of senior-itis.

4. Read the deferral letter carefully. There may well be some hints as to what you can do to strengthen your application.

5. If you have a special talent, use it!

6. Provide strong and meaningful additional letters of recommendation.

7. Be creative and imaginative.

8. Develop new admissions strategies and/or reassess your admissions strategies for additional schools that have or have not received your application.

9. Be careful how you use so called “connections”. All connections are not created equally; some may cause instant rejection decisions.

10. Consider seeking professional advice. Why? In my professional experience, college admissions is not a game of chance; it’s a journey based on timely decisions, appropriate choices, meaningful presentations and expert advice.

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Greenwich Admissions Advisors. Tel. (203) 542-7288.

Dr. Lowe is an active member of several professional organizations including: the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), the New York Association for College Admission Counseling (NYACAC), the New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling (NJACAC), the Overseas Association for College Admission Counseling (OACAC), and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), and the Admissions Leadership Consortium (ALC).